CLAYTON -- The town’s recycling efforts have skyrocketed in the last five years since Waste Management began providing larger bins and accepting more materials.
In a presentation at a recent town council meeting, Chip Dodd of Waste Management showed the town council how the town’s recycling output has more than tripled since 2007. Five years ago, the town only recycled about 225 tons, but the company is projecting that number will rise to about 900 tons in 2012 based on collection totals through the first seven months of the year.
With the town recycling more, that means residents are sending less trash to the county landfill. The more the town recycles, the more favorable the service contract with Waste Management becomes, which is reflected in lower contract costs.
“The town of Clayton has really been a model for other towns across the state,” Dodd said.
Councilman Butch Lawter asked Dodd if Clayton was recycling as much per person as most places, but Dodd couldn’t give provide that figure. She did, however, share that Clayton was recycling roughly four pounds per capita every other week in 2007, a number which has nearly tripled to 11 pounds per capita this year.
In 2007, Waste Management was only providing 18-gallon bins for recycling. In January, 2008, they began offering 64-gallon bins, and have been staggering in 96-gallon bins since 2011 for those customers that were using two 64-gallon bins.
“I think back to 2007, and we had that square plastic thing (for recycling). Now my recycling is like clockwork. It goes out once every two weeks and I take out my trash only once a month,” said Mayor Jody McLeod.
Dodd said the increase in recycling can be partially attributed to the company’s ability to take more materials than they ever had before. They can recycle just about any kind of paper, caps can be left on bottles, and any kind of plastic with a number on the bottom can also be thrown on the recycling bin. The main thing they can’t accept, Dodd emphasized, is plastic bags.
“We can’t accept plastic bags because they jam up the equipment. Reuse plastic bags or take them to grocery store,” Dodd said.
Lawter said he hadn’t been sure about what could be recycled, and would get in debates with his family about what they could throw in the recycling bin. He said it was helpful to know what’s accepted, and suggested posting information on the town website.
Town Manager Steve Biggs suggested putting the information on the back of power bills after Councilman Art Holder objected that a number of residents don’t have Internet access.
Dodd also announced the town’s success with last year’s electronic waste recycling, which she said the company may do again this October in Horne Square. Last year, Clayton residents stopped by with everything from TVs to computers, irons and blenders and filled up a 43-foot trailer which weighed in at 23,325 pounds.
Town leaders plan to visit the Waste Management recycling center in Raleigh September 6 to get a better idea of how the company operates.